NEW YORK — The Utah Jazz have another 5 1/2 weeks of basketball remaining in the 2013-14 season, and coach Tyrone Corbin doesn’t plan on talking to management about his contract situation until after that.
The fact that his current deal is coming close to its expiration date doesn’t bother him or affect the Jazz, he told reporters.
“Man, I’ve been doing this for so long. No. It is what it is,” Corbin said when asked if he’s feeling extra pressure about his uncertain future as the season approaches its finale. “It will be what it will be when it gets there. I’m fine.”
Corbin was hired as the head coach of the Jazz the same day Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan called it quits in February 2011. Sloan’s former assistant didn’t have his contract renewed heading into this season as Jazz brass decided to begin a rebuild project and opted to wait to determine his fate.
Corbin's holding off pursuing anything until then, too.
Asked if he's talked to management about his contract, Corbin simply said, “I’ll put it off until the end (of the season).”
Jazz bosses — from president Randy Rigby to general manager Dennis Lindsey — have publicly supported Corbin this season, but the organization isn’t giving any hints as to whom will be the head coach of the future.
Back in October, Lindsey warned that he wouldn’t respond to queries about Corbin’s next contract the entire season after answering one question about it at media day.
“The Miller family is known for their support for players, of coaches, of management. We’re going to stand by our record,” Lindsey said at the time. “I think as you guys have seen with Coach Sloan, the internal promotion what we did last year and support of Ty and the staff with the Raja Bell situation, coaches here are very well-supported. Beyond that, the Miller family and the management team, we’re not going to comment past that point.”
Corbin, whose team lost 108-81 to the Knicks on Friday at Madison Square Garden, has gone 108-130 during his tenure as the Jazz head coach.
Incidentally, the Jazz were in New York on Friday as a report came out about Phil Jackson allegedly entertaining an offer to replace Mike Woodson as the Knicks’ coach.
Corbin acknowledged that some teams can be bothered by uncertainty at the top, but he doesn’t use that excuse for the Jazz’s recent woes or their 21-41 record.
“I’ve been a part of some teams that have (had issues),” he said. “You see teams (and) you look at them, it doesn’t look right. We don’t want to be one of those guys.”
KEEP ON PLUGGING: Jazz forward Richard Jefferson, who had 12 points in Friday’s ugly loss, said Utah needs to get back to the team that went 15-15 and showed that it’s “a competitive team” after a putrid 1-14 start.
“I thought for two, three months we played pretty steady basketball, right around .500 basketball. For us, that was a step in the right direction,” Jefferson said.
“Now we’re at the end of the season. We’ve got a lot of guys that are playing minutes that they’ve never played before. You can see fatigue, frustration, a lot of things are coming into play, but we’ve just got to stick with it.”
“This is part of the process of learning how to play at this time of year in the league. It’s new for them,” Corbin said of the young Jazz guys. “They’re a little beat up mentally and physically, but we’ve got a find a way to get through it, because these games are going to keep coming and we don’t want to look bad in these games.”
GENEROUS HOST: For a few years, Jazz center Andris Biedrins has helped pay for the championship prize of a three-on-three basketball tournament in Latvia, his homeland.
Biedrins paid for the three Latvian winners to travel to the U.S. — always planned around his team’s visit to New York — and provided them a hotel, vacation excursions, a per diem, tickets to Friday’s game at Madison Square Garden and took them to dinner on Thursday night.
“It was great,” he said of meeting the champions. “All three guys who came, that’s the first time in New York. Obviously they are super excited to see everything.”